Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What’s in a name? Pt .2

Hello there, I'm Christopher Haigh - the other half of the actors, writers, directors and co-creators of ‘HARCOURT & HAIGH: Actors At Large’, you can call me Chris (you probably will anyway - there’s no way I can stop you and, sadly, the nickname ‘Kit’ hasn’t been popular since at least the 1930s). That's me on the right of THAT photo.

I know, I know - it's K.I.T.T. but any excuse to post a sweet Trans Am
When Vern first explained his idea I have to admit to not being keen, not about the series but using our own names in the title.
It did seem a touch egotistical, maybe even a bit vain (and I’m not vain, or at least not willing to admit it). And be ourselves? Natural cowardice means that when performing I’d rather have a character to hide behind. Then Vern reassured me, explaining we wouldn’t be playing ourselves Per Se and he told me the names he’d thought of - Arthur Harcourt and Adrian Haigh. I had to agree with him, they just sounded ‘right’.

Why Arthur Harcourt?
Vern’s idea was that as Arthur Harcourt he was actually from noble stock, and there are fewer names more kingly and comedic.

"Where's me washboard?!"
Why Adrian Haigh?
That’s a bit harder to explain, really. It’s only as I write this that I recall playing football (badly) at break time in junior school and the contraction of ‘Adrian’ to ‘Aidy!’ and ‘Haigh’ becoming ‘Aigy!’ causing me no small measure of confusion when it came to who was being passed the ball (“Not you, Aigy! AIDY!”).
Also I was a bespectacled brown-haired schoolkid with a side parting in the 80s, so it was inevitable what one of my many nicknames would be:

See Also: Penfold
Thank you so very much, Sue Townsend, I don’t think. So, essentially, REVENGE!
Sod living life well, I’m going to avenge myself by reclaiming the name with Adrian Haigh, the working class one with airs of pretension and aspiration to greatness or, at the very least, to be mistaken for greatness.

In developing the characters we also went back to that day in Marsden. When Vern cracked the joke about us being a pair of TV-show cops, Matt remarked, 

“One’s a tough Northern Cop, the other’s a Lilac-scented fop’ 

(In reference to my then-lustrous mane of hair and generally louche demeanour, also YOU try looking manly next to Vern, eh?).
With the police aspect put aside (though perhaps not entirely) I still liked the idea of dandying it up and Vern, well, let’s make no bones about it, he’s a big lad - so I thought we’d substitute the ‘Northern Cop’ for
a nice bit of double entendre ‘Colossal Acting Talent’.

There were the characters in a kernel, two actors, the best of friends, from very different backgrounds but sharing the same overblown sense of self-importance and, of course, drunkenness - ‘One’s a Colossal Acting Talent, the other’s a Lilac-Scented Fop’.
And with that, I knew what they would look like - but I’m getting ahead of myself, I do that sometimes too.

Christopher Haigh


  1. "In reference to my then-lustrous mane of hair and generally louche demeanour"

    And I seem to recall you were drinking cherry beer that day. :)

  2. Who doesn't have a pint for breakfast? As Vern has mentioned, Method Actor. BTW The Method is 'Get drunk first', also known as The O'Toole/Harris/Reed. ;)